Page:The Cambridge History of American Literature, v3.djvu/367

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349
Opposition to Lincoln s Administration

Mahoney's Prisoner of State (1863), the recital by an Iowa editor of his own imprisonment and that of others, is illustrative. The author's theme is summarized in the following sentence from the dedication:

To you, then, far beyond and above all others of the monsters which have been begotten by the demon of fanaticism which is causing our country to be desolated, belongs the distinction of connecting your name with this work, not only to live in the memory of the deeds which you have caused to be committed, but to be kept forever present in the American mind whenever it recurs in time to come to that period in American history when the Constitution of the United States was first abrogated, when the Government of the Union was subverted, and when the rights and liberties of the American People were trampled like dust beneath the feet of a person clothed in a little brief authority which is used to subvert and destroy that which it should preserve, protect and defend, and who uses as the heel of his despotism, you, Edwin M. Stanton.


More widely known was the case of Clement L. Vallandingham. A member of Congress and actively engaged in campaigning against the administration in 1863, he was arrested by military authority, tried by court martial, and sentenced to imprisonment. The sentence was commuted by President Lincoln to exile within the Confederate lines. The episode led to the writing of Edward Everett Kale s short story, A Man Without a Country (1863), of which five hundred thousand copies were sold within thirteen years.

The relation of the South to the Union became the subject of discussion with the first signs of Federal victory, and grew acute with the close of hostilities. If secession, as the Lincoln administration had claimed, was unconstitutional and the Southern states had never been out of the Union, it seemed logical for those states to resume their functions under the Constitution, by participating in Federal elections, by sending representatives to Congress, and by exercising other rights generally guaranteed to the states. Such a policy was in harmony with antebellum nationalism, and it was advocated by leading Southerners. But such a procedure did not harmonize with the new sense of nationality; it made no guarantee against another experiment in secession; and it might also restore to political